VouchForMe’s 10 tips for safer drivers
There are many ways to save money on your car insurance. Shopping around, installing a black box, and adding a parent to your policy all help young drivers get their insurance down. However, the best way to save in the long term is to avoid accidents. After all, the safest drivers pay the least. All drivers can learn good driving habits, and this week, we’re highlighting some of the best. Maybe you’ve just passed and are nervous about getting on the road, or perhaps you’ve been driving for years, and some bad habits have slipped in, today VouchForMe’s tips for safer driving.
1. Keep to a safe and appropriate speed.
It’s easy to let it creep up, but speeding is one of the most significant contributing factors to accidents, so keep the limits in mind. Also, the speed limit is not a target; it’s the maximum speed that you can legally drive. You still need to adjust your speed appropriately for the conditions. Fog, ice, and rain can all increase the likelihood of having an accident and require you to alter your driving accordingly.
2. Know the law.
Back when you took your driving test, you probably revised hard and knew all of the rules. If you’ve been driving for ten years or more, you might be a bit rusty. Do you know when it’s legal to undertake? What a speed limit inside a black diamond means?, Or what a single unbroken line in the road signifies? It’s worth revising over the laws of the road now and then. You don’t want to be in the car and wondering if you have the right of way or not.
3. Put down the phone.
In the USA, texting (and tweeting and Instagramming) causes six times more accidents than driving while drunk, and you’re 23 times more likely to have an accident while texting. So don’t use your phone while driving. You may be tempted, you might think you’ll only answer it this one time, only for a second, but plenty of people have had that exact thought before crashing their car. Don’t use your phone, if you feel you need to, invest in a hands-free kit.
4. Back off from the car in front.
Tailgating is another major cause of accidents, and while it can be frustrating to be stuck behind a slow driver, getting close to them isn’t likely to get them to speed up. It can even lead to ‘brake checking’ where the driver in front starts to brake aggressively, to get the tailgater to back off. Which again increases the likelihood of an accident. The closer you are to the car in front, the less time you have to stop, so try not to get frustrated, wait it out, it’s not worth your life.
5. Drive smoothly.
Heavy braking is a common mistake, especially with new drivers, but again it does more harm than good. If you brake suddenly, you’re giving the driver behind you less time to stop, and you’re wearing out your brakes and tires, and draining your fuel. Controlled and slow stopping is both safer and better for your pocket.
6. Use the highway.
Does the highway make you nervous? In the UK, 13,000 people plan their journeys to avoid motorways, even though they’re statistically the safest roads. So if you find the idea of driving on a highway daunting, you should try to confront that fear. Plan your route and, if possible, take a friend with you. If you’re anxious about motorway driving, many instructors do motorway lessons for new drivers.
7. Look after your car.
Keeping to your vehicle’s maintenance schedule is essential, but looking after your car shouldn’t start and end with the annual service. Basic checks, such as oil and water levels and tire pressures should be carried out at least once a month, over or underinflated tires are far more likely to have a blowout, and if your fluid levels are wrong, you risk your car overheating. Not sure where to start? Check out this guide from the AA.
8. Wear sensible shoes.
You might be able to dance wearing heels all night, but please don’t drive home in them. The same goes for flip-flops. Wearing the wrong footwear can lead to missing the pedals, and some accidents have happened when shoes have slipped off and got caught under the brake. A nice boring pair of flats are ideal for driving, so if you spend your day in stilettos, keep a pair of flats in the car.
9. Stay alert, especially at night.
Researchers have found that driving while tired can be just as bad as drink driving. As you get sleepy, your concentration drops, and reaction times drop. While some motorists load themselves up with caffeine and open their windows, this isn’t a solution. When planning long journeys, try to avoid driving into the night and take regular brakes to keep yourself fresh. If it comes to it, a nap in the car (providing you’re parked somewhere off the road) and getting back late, is better than the alternative. One hundred thousand crashes in the USA a year are caused by sleeping drivers.
10. Look to responsible drivers.
Think of the best driver you know. Chances are whoever you’re thinking of isn’t the type to brake heavily or use their phone, or tailgate. So try to channel their attitude when you’re out driving. Social proof is a psychological phenomenon that explains how people mirror those around them, so if you go out as a passenger with good drivers, you’ll pick up some of that behavior yourself. VouchForMe’s platform is based on social proof, allowing users to vouch for each other as safe and responsible drivers, to cut down the costs of car insurance. Click here to find out more.
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